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Old 08-09-2019, 11:53 AM #1
Mudeprived Mudeprived is offline
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Leaking rack

About two years ago I replaced the factory rack with a brand new Detroit Axle steering rack. It has been fine since....until now. There is a noticeable amount of fluid leaking out of the driver's side boot. Fluid level is dropping.

I've been having weird steering issues that I posted about in the past and thought maybe it was my control arm bushings since I am at 180k and they could be due but I wonder if it is actually the steering rack.

(Note: slip joint in steering shaft is tight.)

The issue is that the steering wheel would jerk back and forth when going over bumps or uneven surfaces. The road to my home is bumpy and uneven and I have to really grip the wheel with both hands to keep it stable, otherwise it is bouncing left and right. There is also a wobble-ish type movement in the front end when hitting hard bumps. I do have Load Range E tires (just balanced twice the past 3 weeks) so I thought maybe the tires are just being rough.

I had my gf turn the wheel back and forth and cannot see any noticeable up and down play in the steering rod behind the boot and there is no clunking.

I am not sure if it's the rack going bad causing the leak or just a bad inner seal.

What do you guys think?
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Old 08-09-2019, 12:10 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudeprived View Post
About two years ago I replaced the factory rack with a brand new Detroit Axle steering rack. It has been fine since....until now. There is a noticeable amount of fluid leaking out of the driver's side boot. Fluid level is dropping.

I've been having weird steering issues that I posted about in the past and thought maybe it was my control arm bushings since I am at 180k and they could be due but I wonder if it is actually the steering rack.

(Note: slip joint in steering shaft is tight.)

The issue is that the steering wheel would jerk back and forth when going over bumps or uneven surfaces. The road to my home is bumpy and uneven and I have to really grip the wheel with both hands to keep it stable, otherwise it is bouncing left and right. There is also a wobble-ish type movement in the front end when hitting hard bumps. I do have Load Range E tires (just balanced twice the past 3 weeks) so I thought maybe the tires are just being rough.

I had my gf turn the wheel back and forth and cannot see any noticeable up and down play in the steering rod behind the boot and there is no clunking.

I am not sure if it's the rack going bad causing the leak or just a bad inner seal.

What do you guys think?
This is not a popular opinion, but it worked for me for a time. I used a bottle of Power Steering stop-leak I picked up at O'Reilly's, it comes in a two part solution that when combined will stop leaks in power steering fluid. It worked for me and slowed, if not completely stopped the leak. Like you, I had complete function of the rack, it just couldn't hold fluid. It did not ruin the pump or clog anything, it's not a goopy mess sort of stuff. I am still running the original pump and lines with no issue.

Then about 6 months later I hit a curb on a rainy day and blew the seal completely on the rack. Had about 90* of dead play in the steering wheel so new rack.

If you are on a budget and your rack is failing anyway, it can delay the fluid loss until you have enough to replace the rack outright. I highly recommend going with OEM this time, unless you like replacing steering racks for some reason.
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Old 08-09-2019, 12:13 PM #3
JohnMc JohnMc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamefreakgc View Post
I highly recommend going with OEM this time, unless you like replacing steering racks for some reason.
Seconded. My wife tried a rebuilt rack (half the price!) when hers went out on her '96. It only lasted a year or two, before it was as bad or worse as the original one that had gone ~250K miles.

Since it's such a major PITA to swap a rack, she used a new OEM rack second time around. More money, but it's been rock solid ever since.
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